Flashback: Sale of Jet Aviation Marks End of an Era

 - August 3, 2022, 9:03 AM

With AIN Media Group's Aviation International News and its predecessor Aviation Convention News celebrating the company's 50th year of continuous publication this year, AIN’s editorial staff is going back through the archives each month to bring readers some interesting events that were covered over the past half-century.

REWIND (September 2005): On August 11 European private equity group Permira said it would buy a majority stake in Zurich, Switzerland-based aviation services company Jet Aviation for an undisclosed amount. With a formal closing expected later this month, the sale will end the uncertainty about the fate of the Hirschmann-family-controlled enterprise since it was first put up for sale in 2002.

Founded in 1967 by entrepreneur Carl Hirshmann Sr., Jet Aviation grew into a worldwide corporate aviation services company with interests in aircraft maintenance, completions, management, and charter. After Hirshmann’s death in April 1995, family battles to control the company led to changes of management and headquarters. Until April 2003 Jet Aviation was led by son Thomas Hirshmann, who had moved the headquarters to West Palm Beach, Florida in the 1990s. Those headquarters returned to Zurich last summer, about a year after Thomas Hirschmann resigned as chairman and CEO.

FAST FORWARD: Permira would hold on to Jet Aviation for just three years before General Dynamics agreed to acquire it for approximately $2.25 billion as a stablemate to airframer Gulfstream Aerospace.

Jet Aviation, which evolved from a two-hangar maintenance facility in Basel, Switzerland, celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. It now operates more than 30 FBOs around the world. The worldwide staff of more than 4,000 offers MRO, completions, and aircraft charter and management services throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America, and the Caribbean.